Another Reason Not to Shop with Amazon

Tara Calishain let me know that Amazon, the online retailer, is turning into Exhibit A for the disfunctional patent system. She pointed to a TechWeb reports that Amazon has won a patent on affiliate programs.

The patent refers to “an Internet-based referral system that enables individuals and other business entities (‘associates’) to products, in return for a commission, that are sold from a merchant’s website.”

You’ll recall that Amazon got a patent for its “one-click checkout” system. This was outrageous enough. This is yet another another patent that should never have been granted, and it’s probably even worse.

DoubleClick Isn’t the Only Online Surveillance System

Even if federal and state investigations force DoubleClick do the right thing on the privacy front, other companies will be happy to step into the breach ( story).

Search Engines Find More than Expected

If I ran a Web site and cared about security I would take a look at this report suggesting that sites are exposing much more information than they may intend.

None of the Above You’ll have that option on political ballots if voters approve Proposition 23 (Mercury News story) in California’s election March 7. It’s the brainchild of Al Shugart, the disk-drive enterpreneur and Silicon Valley’s trailblazer.

I’d support this initiative if it required that a new election be called when “None of the Above” beat all the other candidates in an election. But this doesn’t prevent bad candidates from winning. You’ll only be making a toothless statement, throwing away your vote.

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